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Scrap Aquino order on class suspensions – lawmaker

/ 12:20 PM June 13, 2018
Philippines Floods

Residents look outside their homes as floods rise in Manila on Sept. 12, 2017.  AP FILE

A lawmaker reiterated Wednesday his call to scrap the 2012 executive order (EO) on the suspension of classes and work in government offices based on public storm warnings.

1-Ang Edukasyon Rep. Salvador Belaro, Jr. said storm warnings “have been proven to be inadequate and insufficient indicators or bases” for suspension of classes and work.

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Currently, class suspensions are based on EO 66 issued by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2012.

Belaro said this EO should be replaced with House Bill (HB) 6072 as “a template for a new, updated, upgraded, and more useful EO on suspension of classes and work.”

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“EO 66 is in dire need of replacement. It is obsolete and out of touch with the current realities and the emerging future,” he said.

Under HB 6072, factors for suspension include not just storms and floods, but also landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surges, toxic chemical spills, fires, active shooter situations, hostage-takings, kidnappings, banditry, terrorism, and a state of emergency.

The bill also empowers Malacañang and other authorities to suspend classes and work at Storm Signal No. 2, instead of Signal No. 3.

HB 6072 specifies the various indicators, degrees of intensity, and directly observable developments on which authorities can base their decisions to suspend.

The proposed measure also provides that classes and work may be suspended or canceled because of: widespread loss of electric power distribution, water supply distribution, or non-functioning of sewerage systems, and widespread collapse or offline status of several banking or financial systems that disrupt the normal functioning or cause serious financial incapacity or disruption of households, communities, institutions, and workplaces.

Currently, classes in the pre-school level are automatically suspended in affected areas when the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) raises Public Storm Warning Signal No. 1. Classes from pre-school to high school are suspended in affected areas when Signal No. 2 is declared.

Classes in all levels, including graduate school, and work in all government offices are suspended in affected areas when Signal No. 3 or higher is raised.

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The current EO allows mayors to suspend classes and work in their jurisdiction. /cbb

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TAGS: 1-Ang Edukasyon, Benigno Aquino III, Executive Order 66, news, Pagasa, Salvador Belaro, Storm signals
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